Monday Brews 7-21-14

Welcome back to Boards & Barley. I’m so glad you’re here. Today we’ve got a standard Monday Brews article but I’ve got some good stuff in the pipe for this week. I’ll have an article about game design regarding when/how to chip away at your game. I’ll also have a Grand Illusion article. And I’m hoping to have one other article for you all on Friday. Not sure of the content yet, but I have a few ideas. It’s about time that I started making this blog rock again, don’t you think??

As a reminder, I want to point you to my article about the new board game publishing company that several friends and I are starting: “It’s Time for a Mutiny!” The company is called Moon Yeti and we are going to be giving away about 100 copies of a sweet microgame called Mutiny at Gen Con. Will you be there?

Now, let’s get on to the Boards & Barley!

The Barley:

You and me goin’ fishin’ in the dark!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Capital Brewery, Fishin’ in the Dark Imperial Schwarzbier

This was a quite enjoyable beer from Capital Brewery. They are located in Middleton, WI and have branched out a bunch since the previous brewmaster left to start Wisconsin Brewing. Capital are brewing some really cool beers. This one seems a fine addition to their lineup.

The Boards:

Lovely artwork, enjoyable game.


This game is pretty legit. The theme is cool and unique. The gameplay is tight. And in the end you find yourself with your own little theme park. That’s pretty sweet.

The game lasts 6 rounds. Each round players roll 6 dice (over and over again) until they get the results they want. Then in turn order (based on who stopped rolling first, second, third, etc.) players will resolve their dice. The dice allow for building rides or stations, finding visitors, cleaning your park, or fulfilling bonus cards.

There is a good amount of forethought necessary when trying to optimize your dice. And there is also a bunch of different ways you could try to win. Players win by having the most money. If your park is too dirty at the end, you will lose money.

Overall I felt the game was a lot of fun. It’s a game I definitely want to play at least one more time.

Horizontal RuleThere you go. I made no game design progress last week, which was extremely disappointing as I am really hoping to get Brooklyn Bridge to a better state prior to Gen Con. It will be a big focus for me this week and I try to hone the design and infuse more fun, more interesting decisions, and more long-game strategy.

What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?

Monday Brews – 7-14-14

First things first: Today is July 14th… Gen Con starts August 14th. That means we are 1 month away from Gen Con! Woo Hoo!

Now let’s get to the bi-weekly Boards & Barley that I have enjoyed. As usual we’ll start with the Barley.

The Barley:

Clean and friendly with some delicious beer!


Next Door Hammerhead IPA

As one of my goals for the year I am “adventuring” out of my beer comfort zones and into more varieties of beer. IPAs are one of those varieties that I previously would never have chosen. But I am now embracing them.

In the past I have typically stayed away from hoppy beers. But this beer was actually very drinkable and enjoyable. The hop level wasn’t too strong and it seemed to provide just the right about of character. If you are ever in the Madison area I recommend stopping by Next Door Brewing!

Horizontal Rule

The Boards:

Simple and elegant artwork and gameplay!


I played this at Next Door Brewing and I really enjoyed it. It is quick, has beautiful and simple artwork, and the gameplay is elegant.

Sushi Go has a card drafting mechanic similar to the game 7 Wonders. Ultimately, Sushi Go is like 7 Wonders Lite. Take a card, pass the rest, then play the card. The cards present different scoring opportunities. Some have you build a set to score. Some score straight away. Some score at the end of the game. The design is so smooth and simple that it is easy to see why people enjoy this game.

Horizontal Rule

Designer’s Corner:

With Gen Con one month away it’s really crunch time in terms of the designs I want to show. Brooklyn Bridge is really at the forefront and will be where I place the most effort over the next few weeks. It’s at the point where some of the cards need some tweaking, but ultimately it just needs to be played more.

I would also like to see if I can prototype The Grand Illusion and get in some preliminary playtests, even if it means the first time it gets played is at Gen Con.

Grand Illusion Core Mechanics

Preliminary LogoToday is the second in a series about designing a new game called The Grand Illusion. Via Twitter I asked for examples of different types of Victorian-era magic and illusions. Here are a list of some of them:

  • Levitation
  • Cutting off heads / Cutting someone in half
  • Disappearing persons
  • Escapes
  • Sword swallowing
  • “Anything with doves”

Of course there are others like sleight of hand, card tricks, collapsing cages, awesome tricks with electricity, etc. What I am looking for are core genres of tricks that can be used as the currency (symbols) in the game. So with that in mind I think there are several such genres that could be used. For now I’ll go with these:

  1. Escapes
  2. Sleight of Hand
  3. Disappearing
  4. Cutting (of people)
  5. Levitating
  6. Grand Illusions

That gives 6 “currencies” in the game that can be used for set collection.

Performing Magic

The real question we need to be asking is, “How exactly do you play this game?”

As I mentioned last week the idea is that you are a street performing magician looking to gain a reputation, earn some dough, and eventually find yourself on a stage performing a grand illusion for the masses.

This will be mostly a card based game unless the direction of the game changes. For now I have created preliminary icons for the 5 main magic genres listed above (excluding the Grand Illusions).


Players will begin the game with a hand of cards. They will also have their “Grand Illusion” card, which is private. There will also be a few magic tricks to perform that are laid out on the table. In each round the magicians will perform a random draft.

Here’s how that will work. Each player will decide which card they want in the pool of available cards. So each player will take one of their cards and put it face down in the middle. Once all players have chosen a card, then one random card from the deck will be added. Then the player with the smallest reputation will pick up the pile, look at the cards, and play one face up in front of them. All other players will follow in order of smallest reputation.

Once all players have placed one of the cards face up, each will have the opportunity to perform a magic trick. To perform a trick you must have a set of cards that appropriately matches one of the face up magic trick cards. So a trick might require 2 “Escape” skills and 1 “Levitate” skill. If you have played these cards in front of you then you can complete the trick. Turn in the three cards you used and take the completed magic trick card and place it in front of you.

These completed magic trick cards will have an icon or icons on them that allow you to perform better magic. Some will have icons that are not available in the standard pool of cards that are dealt to players. So players must complete magic tricks to gain the skills they need to complete their Grand Illusion.

Once a player completes their Grand Illusion, the end of the game is triggered. All players will have an equal number of turns to attempt to complete their Grand Illusion. If only one player completes their Grand Illusion, they are the winner. If several people complete their Grand Illusion, then a tie breaker goes to the player with the most completed magic tricks.

What’s Next?

So now that the framework is set for how to play, the next step is for me to mock up some cards and solidify the actual gameplay. Here’s where you all can join me in the design. I want you to provide names for magic tricks. I’ll use these as the names on the prototype cards. If they are really good names then I’ll use them as one of the Grand Illusions.

Also, I would love your feedback on the basic gameplay here. As I was writing this article I realized that this game has a feel very similar to Splendor or The Builders. There is definitely some engine building with simple card mechanics. I’m not too worried about that since I think the drafting mechanic makes it different enough. But I really want your suggestions!

It’s Time For A Mutiny!

MY Small Logo Dark Blue FontIt is with great pleasure that I can announce that several of my friends and I will be starting a new board game publishing company called Moon Yeti Games. (Website up but still under construction).

Our philosophy is that we are enthusiast gamers seeking to publish great games. That’s it. Plain and simple. We love gaming. We love all different kinds of games. But the one thing that will be consistent across all of our games is that they will be great games produced with the highest quality.

So as a fun thing to help with publicity we decided to not just make business cards but rather make business cards that are also a microgame. That’s where the Mutiny begins!

Welcome Aboard!

You are the crew of the HMS Moon Yeti. One of you is planning a mutiny. The Mutineer’s goal: to survive while the others attempt to discover you.

Players take on the role of one of the 4 crew members on the ship: Chaplain, Boatswain, Helmsman, or Navigator. Roles are public knowledge, but the identity of the mutineer remains hidden. Over the course of two rounds, players try to discover the mutineer through discussion, accusation, denial, and special actions. The game ends with a vote to convict one player as guilty of mutiny. If the mutineer is voted guilty, all the other players win. Otherwise, the mutineer wins.

Each role has unique abilities that may help reveal the mutineer or allow them to exert control over the the voting. Since any player could be the mutineer, an accusation could be helpful, or a clever attempt to re-direct suspicion elsewhere. Mutiny is a social game with a minimal rule set. The game instead relies on player discussion and interaction to drive the game.

Mutiny was designed by Adam Buckingham. It is simple, clever, and hilarious. This is a game for 4-6 players that takes about 10 minutes to play. Play it in line with friends at your favorite coffee shop. Play it at the bar when your enjoying a nice craft brew. Play it anywhere you want!

The Characters

All four cards together form the HMS Moon Yeti.

All four cards together form the HMS Moon Yeti.

CHAPLAIN: The Chaplain is the moral center of the ship. They provides counsel for the virtuous, and cover for the depraved. Crew mates may find themselves compelled to confess their sins, but can rely on the complete discretion of the Chaplain. Desperate crew mates covet the forgiveness that only the Chaplain can provide. Be wary, the Chaplain’s piety may be wielded in an attempt to cover seditious intentions.

BOATSWAIN: The Boatswain is the foreman of the ship’s deck crew. With unprecedented access to crew cabins, crew mates will find it hard to keep their secrets hidden. Bosun keeps ears open and knows how the votes will fall before they are cast. With the rabid loyalty of the crew, there is nothing so dangerous as a defiant Boatswain.

HELMSMAN: The Helmsman steers the ship. While the title puts them a step below the Captain, the crew trusts them more than any other crewmember. The Helmsman’s position manifests as greater influence over the crew’s decisions. A rebellious Helmsman wields a power that is very hard to contain.

NAVIGATOR: The Navigator sets the course for the ship. When the ship isn’t headed in the right direction, it’s the Navigator who sets things right. Holding tight to the tools of their trade, the crew may not recognize a rogue Navigator until it’s too late.

Each character has a first round and second round ability that strongly influence the game. Each time you play it you might be a different character. Or you might be the mutineer. Or the people you are playing with might be terrible liars. There is a lot of fun packed in this 4-card game!

Will You Join The Mutiny?

Mutiny 900Here’s the deal… we want to start getting our name out there. So we printed up over 100 copies of Mutiny that we will be handing out at Gen Con. Our goal, through publishing great games, is to become a household name synonymous with gaming awesomeness. We believe Mutiny is an awesome 4-card game and we are excited to hand them out.

If you are so excited about it, we have a PNP available on Click here. We’d love to hear what you think and we can definitely answer your questions.

So climb aboard and let’s set sail on this most grand adventure together!

Monday Brews – 6-30-14

Another week gone by. And another summer weekend in the rear view mirror. And another tornado warning where I live. What a summer this shall be!

It’s Monday, so let’s take a look at the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed this past week.

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Lake Louie Mosquito Beach

This is a beautifully tasteful beer and perfect for warm summer evening enjoyment. Lake Louie, a local brewer, makes some excellent brews. This particular beer, a “California Common,” is Lake Louie’s first lager beer. It weighs in at 5.8% abv and possesses 30 IBUs. And it is really tasty!

  • Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
  • Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss
  • Smith & Forge Hard Cider

What brews have you been enjoying?

The Boards:


I made a change to the brickyards based on a suggestion for a local world-class game developer and it took the game from “This is a game” to “This is special!”

It worked really well, increased player interaction dramatically, added a slightly more cut-throat nature, and most importantly made it more fun and enjoyable. I can’t wait to get it to the table again and keep working on it!

The only other game I played last week was Mutiny, which I should be able to write about in the near future. I’ll keep you posted on that.

What board games have you been enjoying?



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